Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pitchblende

I have no memory of how I came to possess this cassette by Pitchblende, a DC-area band that formed in 1991 and broke up in 1995. I think maybe it was sent to me by Damian from the contemporaneous but even shorter-lived DC band Load, with whom I corresponded a little bit around the time this came out, and whose own cassette I will post at some point in the future. Oddly I never wound up acquiring any further releases by Pitchblende other than the split single with Eggs that I posted earlier, so they're not a band I know really well, but listening to this tape again while digitizing reminded me how much I like it. Luckily for me (and you), the rest of their discography is posted over at Crumbs of Affection, so I should be able to find out what I've been missing all these years pretty easily.

The band also entered the digital age a few years back by creating a MySpace page, which details the group's formation and the circumstances surrounding the creation of this cassette. So I don't see much reason to go on and on about those details here. It is worth noting, however, that the description there does not reference the experimental and interesting hidden tracks that appear at the end of each side of the tape - the latter of which consists largely of an extended telephone conversation in Russian or Polish or some other Eastern European language. Also the MySpace entry lists the songs in a different order than the tape cover does - I've followed the tape here (including the mispelling of "Sum" as "Sump"), so someone let me know if it is incorrect. Finally, I really like the fact that one of the members of Pitchblende actually played as part of Unrest on the Yes She is My Skinhead Girl single, which I have also posted here. It makes me feel like I might be recreating just a little bit of the original community, which is nice.

One last thing: while I normally don't do much to alter the direct recording of my vinyl, I did remove the tape hiss from these mp3s. If I had better (OK, any) command of the EQ functions in Audacity I might have been able to keep this from sounding like it came from an 18-year-old tape altogether, but no such luck. At any rate, I hope it pleases some ears out there. Enjoy.










Pitchblende cassette, 1991
Self-released, #254 of a limited edition

A1: Redcap (3:26)
A2: Tuffet (3:12)
A3: Sump (4:06)
A4: Comatose Snail Punchout (4:48)
A5: Pilot Light (3:56)
A6: [Untitled hidden track] (2:17)
B1: Lacquer Box (5:42)
B2: Drop in the Big Drink (3:07)
B3: Infinite Mouse (3:03)
B4: Sawed Off City (3:12)
B5: Cars (4:20)
B6: [Untitled hidden track] (6:17)

Get it here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Eggs

Second to Unrest, Eggs are, in my humble opinion, the greatest of the Teenbeat bands. Like Mark Robinson, the force behind Unrest, Andrew Beaujon of Eggs was with the label from the beginning, working under various monikers such as Scaley Andrew. Eggs was a sort of supergroup that featured Beaujon as well as Rob Christiansen, also of Grenadine and Viva Satellite. Their album Exploder is tremendous, as is their singles compilation How Do You Like Your Lobster. I highly recommend that you visit the Teenbeat site and pick those up.

The first two songs of the first single I'm posting here are included on How Do You Like Your Lobster, but for some reason (a rights issue, perhaps?) the cover of Peggy Lee's Fever is not on the CD. Neither is the great instrumental track from the second single here, which is a split release with Pitchblende - a band that I will post more from in due course. You can get both singles here. Enjoy.


PS. As anyone reading the comments will see, I heard from Andrew Beaujon, who kindly pointed out that I had recorded "Song With Contemporary Influences" at the wrong speed. I am a bad blogger! Or perhaps a bad indie-rock fan? At any rate, what I thought was a zippy instrumental romp is in fact a much mathier, dirge-like ditty. It's still a good song. I've reposted the corrected version via the link above - and just for kicks I've thrown in a little non-vinyl Eggs rarity: their cover of The Cure's "Catch" from the compilation Give Me The Cure, which featured many DC-area bands doing Cure covers, and which I sadly do not own...

Anyway, thanks to Andrew for visiting the site and checking up on his legacy, and thanks to you all as I continue working out the kinks of blogging.






Jade Tree EP, 1993
Jade Tree, no. 1010

A: Sexual Tension (5:23)
B1: In State (2:46)
B2: Fever (3:34)






Eggs/Pitchblende, Balls! Balls! EP, 1994
Jade Tree, no. 1016

A: Pitchblende, "Windshield Kiss" (2:47)
B: Eggs, "Song with Contemporary Influences" (5:03)

Stereolab & Soi-Disant

Here's a split single by Stereolab and Soi-Disant that to my knowledge has not yet found its way onto CD. Stereolab must be gearing up for another Switched On compilation, on which their song here would presumably appear, but for now this is a pretty hard-to-find entry in their extremely extensive canon. Around my house this song is affectionately known as "The Windshield Wiper Song." The Soi-Disant song is good, too, though I don't know a thing about them as a band. Anyway, I thought this would be a nice follow-up to the Stereolab/Cat's Miaow single. Enjoy.





Stereolab/Soi-Disant split 7", 1998
Lukewarm Music, no. 1

A: Stereolab, "Symbolic Logic of Now!" (4:09)
B: Soi-Disant, "Glitterati (Cruise(r))" (4:12)

Get it here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stereolab & The Cat's Miaow

As a little afterthought to my Unrest post, here's a split flexi-single by Stereolab and The Cat's Miaow. Stereolab also put out a single with Unrest, and Unrest covered a song by Miaow (see below), who is surely the reference point for The Cat's Miaow, don't you think? So this seemed like an appropriate followup. The two Stereolab songs on this disc have not been included on the band's various "Switched On" compilations--though "Yes Sir I Can Moogie" also manifested itself as "Moogie Wonderland," a b-side on their "Ping Pong" single. They're really just sketches here, The Cat's Miaow song being the only fully-formed track on the single. Still, if you're as big a Stereolab fan as I am, this is a nice little nugget from one of the prime moments of their catalogue. Enjoy.





Stereolab/The Cat's Miaow split 7", 1995
Wurlitzer Jukebox, no. 3

A1: Stereolab, "The Eclipse" (0:59)
A2: The Cat's Miaow, "Shoot the Moon" (2:55)
A3: Stereolab, "Yes, Sir! I Can Moogie" (1:02)

Get it here.

Comments, and a return (Unrest).

So. It's been a long time since I've posted anything here, or even looked at this site. I suppose I lost interest there for a while. But just a little while ago I happened to come back here and discovered, to my delight, that I had gotten quite a few comments on my postings in last six months. As a frequenter of music blogs, I have often seen people write how much comments mean to them, but until now I had not truly understood how blog-affirming they are. So thank you, Billy Sugarfix, Mookieproof, Rye, Andrea Kulpas, Mr. Snrub, JonMcP, Joe, Ned, and yes, even you, Anonymous. (Not so much you, Sexy, who I can only assume is a Chinese spammonger of some sort.) Suddenly I have the desire to post again!

With that said, I thought that posting more Unrest singles would be a nice way to get back in the swing of things:




Yes She Is My Skinhead Girl 7", 1991
Teenbeat no. 42/IPU no. 17

A1: Yes She Is My Skinhead Girl (4:26)
B1: Hydroplane (3:01)
B2: Feeling Good Fixation (0:59)

This is (I think) the band's third single, and certainly the first one to have a large pressing. It's also a co-release with K Records, part of the label's International Pop Underground series. (Or were all of K's releases part of the IPU series?) At any rate, it's a great single, with a lovely Sammy Davis Jr. cover, and a different version of the title track than the one that later came out on the Isabel EP, plus two great b-sides, the latter of which is part of the long-standing tradition of 1-minute Unrest songs.




A Factory Record 7", 1991
Teenbeat no. 63/Sub-Pop no. 103

A1: Deaf (3:14)
A2: UFO (2:05)
B1: Sex Machine (1:27)
B2: When It All Comes Down (3:52)

Anyone who knows anything about the Teenbeat label knows that Mark Robinson (leader of the label and of Unrest) is a Factory Records fanatic. Thus it is only fitting that he would release a single comprising covers of great tunes from the Factory discography. On this co-release with Sub-Pop (part of its single-of-the-month series), we get covers of songs by Crispy Ambulance, ESG, Crawling Chaos, and Miaow (in that order). The Miaow cover was later released on the BPM compilation, which is stil available from Teenbeat.




ModFuck Explosion
original soundtrack LP, 1993
Ballpeen no. 10

A1: ModFuck Explosion Theme (2:58)
A2: Zim-Zum (3:22)
A3: London's Theme (2:18)
A4: Northwest Territory (1:28)
A5: In the Garden (3:11)
A6: Unrest Incidental Piece (3:52)

This soundtrack catches Unrest at their prime, right between the release of Imperial FFRR and Perfect Teeth, and it shows. Six beautiful songs that were, incidentally, the first Unrest songs I ever heard, thanks to a great mid-college mixtape by my friend Kelly's roommate Rebecca (wherever you are, thank you). The other half of the soundtrack is by Karyo Tengoku, a brilliant Japanese noise-punk band - I haven't digitized that side of the album yet, but plan on seeing it here at some point. The ModFuck Explosion film came out on DVD a few years back, but I never mustered up the willpower to watch it. I wonder if it lives up to its soundtrack.




Animal Park 7", 1994
Teenbeat no. 133

A1: Afternoon Train (2:24)
A2: Hey Hey Halifax (1:43)
B1: Light Command (4:23)

And finally, the last Unrest single, once the band was rapidly underway to becoming Air Miami (more on which at another time). "Light Command" appears, in slightly different form (I think), on the Perfect Teeth album, while "Afternoon Train" was refashioned (slightly) to appear on the Air Miami album. Bridget Cross sings on both songs.

Get all this stuff in one handy file here. Enjoy!